No that’s not a typo. And no we’re not going to talk about cheeseburgers (or cats) today. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, visit here: http://icanhas.cheezburger.com
Now, on to the business at hand. PubMed contains commands to find citations with corrections, erratum, comments and patient summaries. View the 2 minute 32 second video to see where to find the commands and how to use them (Once you view the video below, you’ll see the connection between the title of this blog entry and the commands).
After you press Play, click on the controls below the video to change your view to HD (look for the little gear icon). You can also view the video in full-screen mode.
Here are a few things we’ve been reading lately:
Did you find any of these particularly useful? Read anything lately that we should add to our “To Read” stack?
Learn about the National Guideline Clearinghouse index of guidelines in this video snippet.
The NLM Technical Bulletin, produced by the National Library of Medicine, is your source for the latest PubMed changes and searching information. You can sign up for email updates or an RSS Feed. Be the first kid on the block to know!
In the ChemIDplus Advanced search interface, you can draw a structure and search for similar substances. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the drawing feature of ChemIDplus.
Recently, I downloaded a copy of No More Spilled Ink: Writing for Instructional Design by Connie Malamed. I recommend the free resource as a great guide if you’re writing content for any kind of online learning.
One section of the guide addresses writing audio scripts, and I thought I’d share a few of Malamed’s tips here, and use them to evaluate an audio script that I recently wrote for a short tutorial.
- Tip 1: Write like you speak. This means using short sentences, everyday words, and contractions.
- Tip 2: Keep it brief. Consider how much your audience can process at once and avoid overloading them.
- Tip 3: Repeat key points. Use emphasis or new wording to help the learner understand.
- Tip 4: Notate silence. A pause give learners processing time and keeps you from rushing.
So how does my script measure up?
I think my script sounds pretty close to my natural language. I’ve used contractions, such as “let’s” and “don’t”, my sentences are relatively short and straightforward. I have incorporated a few words of jargon, so I’ll review to make sure that they make sense to my intended audience. The script is brief (about 2 minutes) because I narrowed the topic ahead of time. I was tempted to explain a much larger concept, but decided to keep it tightly focused. However, I did not use any of my time to repeat key points. As I revise, I’ll consider adding a sentence that summarizes the take-home message. Finally, notating silence. I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s a great tip because I often find myself speaking more quickly than I would with a face-to-face audience. I seem to forget to pause and breathe, so I think putting the breaks in the script will help me find a more relaxed rhythm.
Check out the full version of the guide for more great tips!
Where do you start your searches? There are many options. Watch this 3 minute video to learn how to build a search from within the MeSH database.
This video answers one of the most common questions we hear about MeSH: what do the dates mean?
Take a look, and if you’d like to learn more, check out the MeSH tutorial from the National Library of Medicine.
We’ve all been there. We sign up for an online class with every intention of completing the class, but somewhere along the way things get in the way and we don’t finish the class. They call it the U-Shaped Curve: “Novelty and enthusiasm produce high drive at the beginning, but it drops off sharply thereafter, only increasing when the end of the course is in sight.”
Here are a few suggestions for course builders to keep motivation and interest up:
- Offer Choice: Break content into smaller modules and allow students to choose only those modules that are most important to them.
- Within the smaller modules, offer even more options to access the material. For example, you can include a short video, hands-on exercises, a follow-along tutorial. Bite-sized lessons allow students to get a sense of accomplishment, which in turn may spur them on to do more work.
- Provide feedback; because cyberspace can be lonely and we never really know what happened to that homework we uploaded. As the instructor, set a goal for yourself: I will grade and respond to students within X amount of days. Turn this goal into a class policy and include it in the “about this course” section.
Last week I gave a few tips for engaging your learners, based on this e-book from Shift eLearning. The final tip was to use good course design. But what does that mean?
According to Shift eLearning, “Well-designed courses help your learners to understand what they are seeing. When every element on screen has a deliberate function, and is in the right place, everything seems more clear.” While this is focused on the online learning environment, I think it’s true for traditional classes as well. Here are six key principles for good design.
1. Don’t unnecessarily complicate things. Keep the course simple with usable navigation and readable fonts. Focus on communicating with the user and making it easy to accomplish what they want to do.
2. Allow for inquiry and exploration. Isn’t it more engaging when you discover information on your own? Giving choices or trying scenarios can bring curiosity to the content.
3. Keep the content to a minimum. Focus on what they truly need to know and avoid extra information that can clutter the experience and get in the way of the main goals.
4. Pay attention to the visual elements. Check that your typography, color, texture, icons, symbols, pictures and animations or videos add to the experience and do not detract from it.
5. Less is more. This is a variation of keeping it simple. Make sure that it can load quickly and takes as few steps as possible to get to the content they should learn.
6. Mix it up. A variety of activities or formats can challenge the learners to think in new ways. Will a case study, game, or animation best help the students to learn?
Find several other tips for engaging your learners in the downloadable e-book!